Do you like to explore and examine the natural world? Want to be a citizen scientist? Are you interested in joining researchers and nature enthusiasts from across Canada in tracking rapid changes in our natural environment?
NatureWatch is your home page for fun, easy-to-use environmental monitoring programs that encourage you to learn about the environment while gathering the information that scientists need to monitor and protect it. NatureWatch monitoring programs are suitable for all levels and interests, designed to develop your scientific observation and data collection skills so that you can actively contribute to scientific understanding of Canada’s environment.
Information you submit to our NatureWatch programs is pooled with information submitted by other participants across Canada, and is used by researchers at several Canadian universities to improve scientific knowledge of changes in Canada’s biodiversity, climate, and the natural environment. Being a NatureWatcher costs nothing, and is a great activity for children, adults, families, groups, and clubs. You choose the places where you go to enjoy nature – your backyard, a neighbourhood park, or a favourite forest, field or pond – and use the NatureWatch website on your smartphone to record the frogs, flowers, worms, or ice conditions you observe there.
Right now, NatureWatch hosts the following nature monitoring programs, with more to come in the future:
- FrogWatch: Learn about Canada’s favourite amphibians while helping researchers and zoos monitor the health of frog population and frog habitat.
- Ice Watch: Do you live near a pond, lake, or river that freezes over each winter? The dates when ice appears and disappears provide important information about patterns in Canada’s climate. Join our network of citizen scientists who have been tracking changes in winter ice conditions over many years.
- PlantWatch: The blooming times of Canada’s most easily-recognized plant species help scientists to track changing climate trends and their impacts. If you love to garden or have an eye for flowers, please help PlantWatch and its network of volunteer provincial coordinators monitor Canada’s changing natural environment.
- WormWatch: Worms might gross some people out, but at WormWatch, we think worms provide an exciting way to teach kids about the importance of soil and the organisms that live in it. And the kids agree with us. If you’re a teacher, guide or scout leader, or someone with a bunch of kids to amuse on a sunny afternoon, get out your shovel and your smartphone and give WormWatch a try.